Some of its decisions, such as ruling that a non-bank financial company should be subject to Fed supervision, couldn’t be made without the Treasury secretary’s approval.
“While it mostly has powers of recommendation, it clearly has the ability to affect regulation and set the agenda,” said Chuck Muckenfuss
, a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Washington who specializes in financial regulation and policy.
While the office isn’t intended to “snoop on people,” it would have broad power to ask companies for information, Swagel said.
The office would obtain data and conduct research on systemic risk and require banks with assets of $50 billion or more to give information not otherwise available about its financial condition and internal systems.
“The Treasury Department has been one of the primary battalions in our economic army,” Ludwig said. “In times of war the army grows in strength and authority. The question is, how will this army change in times of peace, or what it will evolve into.”